Hearings over Mill Creek bike trail battle in Green Township set
The fate of a proposed bike trail at the Mill Creek part will be determined in a 'necessity' hearing scheduled for November and December.
The Mahoning County Common Pleas Court will hold hearings on claims by the property owner Diane Less that the park board did not have the authority or the need to take her property as part of a six-and-a-half mile leg of a hike and bike path on Nov. 29, 30 and December 1.
"They don't need to destroy our properties and farms for a bike path," Less told 21 News. "They'll put people out of business for this."
MetroParks is seeking the right-of-way through property owned by several landowners in Green Township, including Less, named as the defendant in the case, and other Green Township property owners.
Less and her attorneys are arguing that the MetroParks cannot use eminent domain to claim the land from her property to build a bike path.
In an appeal to the Mahoning County Court last year, they accused the MetroParks did not have the right to build the bike path and abused its power in pushing forward with the bike trail.
The court ruled in their favor, however the MetroParks appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court in 2022.
The park board said it began acquiring the property for the bikeway more than 20 years ago by purchasing a former railroad bed. The 11-mile Phase I and II bike trail runs from Niles to Canfield Township, first opened in 2000.
Less says she has owned Paul Less Farm in Green Township since the 1920s, says she would be cut off from her horse trail at her farm and a family cemetery if the bike trail by Mill Creek goes in as planned.
The attempt to extend the bike trail impacts 12 property owners in Mahoning County to the Columbiana County line.
Magistrate Dennis Sarisky will oversee the hearing.